Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ship of Fools

As the world responds to the crisis in Lebanon by scrambling to get its foreign nationals the hell out as quickly as possible, I have to wonder: couldn't the evacuations ships have been loaded with food & medicine before they left port? I mean, ships travel both ways, right? On Monday, Morocco sent food & medical supplies. Five thousand Danes have already been evacuated - how many packages of powdered milk could have made the crossing for each Dane?

Germany flew three military Airbuses to pickup Germans from Damascus and Adana, Turkey. The three planes can carry up to 500 people. A flight brought 361 Germans, including 171 children, from Damascus, where conditions at the airport were reported to be chaotic.

Were medical supplies on board? Bottles of water?

Lebanon is not a wealthy country:

"The per capita GDP of Israel is among the highest in the world at $24,600, nearly four times as high as Lebanon's GDP per capita of $6,200. ... While the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million."

So, although I most sincerely applaud the emergency monetary funds that Europe and Canada have just pledged (Muslim countries were the first to respond), I can't help but think that after a week of bombardment, I'd rather food than a cheque. Or clean drinking water. Or milk for my kids.


Blogger ByronB said...

Politicianthink:Who the hell cares about foreigners dying? Get your own civilians out quick or you will be voted out at the next election.

8:28 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Of course, you're right. Which is why I'm an underpaid shmuck rather than a rich politico-type.

9:40 a.m.  
Blogger 4xLucky said...

You know - I had to check the word verification string (per your previous post). Mine? xhmuk

Very much like shmuck.

I obviously don't rate as highly as you do with TPTB.

11:49 a.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

As far as I'm aware, our Canadian government has yet to pledge aid to Lebanon, which is not surprising, given that:

"...Prime Minister Stephen Harper... described Israeli destruction of Lebanon as a "measured" response to the Hezbollah attack on a military convoy.

Harper did not "urge" restraint nor did he offer support for the United Nations' mission attempting to broker a ceasefire.

The Prime Minister is known as a thoughtful and deep thinker who measures and weighs every word. His silence on the matter is shocking. Not surprisingly, Israel, which traditionally counts on American support, welcomed the Canadian position."

I guess the thinking is, "If we support bombing the shit out of these poor bastards, wouldn't it be two-faced to then send aid? Let's help our Israeli friends by letting disease and starvation finish off what the bombing couldn't."


11:50 a.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

BTW, the above quote is from the Toronto Star, July 18, 2006 from an editorial piece by Mazen Chouaib, executive director of the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations.

11:52 a.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

"The Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, the Honourable Josée Verner, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Peter MacKay, today announced that the Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will provide up to $1 million to respond to the current crisis in Lebanon." .... from

12:59 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Chump change. $1 million for a country as prosperous as Canada? That's shameful. No wonder it hasn't been trumpeted in the media...

4:05 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Chump change or not, the point of the post was that a more effective response would have been the coupling of supplies with the evacuation ships.

5:23 p.m.  
Anonymous chrisso said...

BTW - at this point I have heard of no financial or humanitarian aid/support from the US. So, you can call it "chump change" but I do believe it's better than absolutely nothing.

5:27 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...

Do you think we should use the evil regime south of us as our moral compass? I sure don't.

The largest receipient of US foreign aid is Israel - all of it military aid! This, to the country that C in R quite rightly stated has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

Of course the US doesn't want to support the victims of Israel's bombs, because those are indirectly American bombs dropping on those innocent civilians.

The paltry sum that we've so far pledged to contribute (and I have no doubt the amount will rise over coming days and weeks, as rage of the rest of the world increases) is IMHO indicative of our new Conservative government cozying up the the Americans. Harper is another Brian Mulroney - next, he'll be vacationing with Gee Dubya, and singing songs for the media.

6:20 p.m.  
Blogger ByronB said...

I can't help feeling it would be downright hypocritical of the UK to call for the Israelis to stop killing civilians considering that they haven't reached anywhere near the thousands of ordinary people bombed and shot to death by the US & UK when we decided to "liberate" Iraq.

Which just goes to show you shouldn't judge a country by its leader, since so many Brits were opposed to the invasion. Perhaps a lot of Israelis are as bitterly opposed to their government dealing out death and destruction on their behalf.

Who knows? Who ever hears from those who want peace?

6:47 p.m.  
Anonymous chrisso said...

I never said that we should use the "evil regime south of us as our moral compass".

I was just commenting that at least we are doing something. I agree that Harper is Brian Mulooney Jr. and that he wants to share a bed with Dubya.

Let's put Canada's contribution in perspective here. The EU announced they were sending 10 million Euros. That is 14.5 million Canadian dollars. Should I mention that the EU is made up of 25 countries? An initial contribution from Canada of $1 Million doesn't seem so "paltry" all of a sudden.

8:15 p.m.  
Blogger Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

Rock on Chrisso!

8:22 p.m.  
Blogger knarf said...


I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree here.

I really don't care ~what~ other countries are giving. Canada should be giving more than $1 million. We can afford more, we should give more.

Not much use in arguing. I feel it's not enough, so in my mind it's paltry, chump change, sweet dick all, choose your synonym. If you feel different, you're entitled, and I'm not going to think less of you for it. I know you to be a kind and generous person.

And, C in R, your point is well taken. Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, I suppose the argument would be that since the evacuations had to occur immediately, the logistics of arranging the procurement and then shipping of supplies would have delayed the ships thus putting Canadian nationals in more danger than they already were.

We also don't know where the ships were at the time they were dispatched to Lebanon. They may not have been in a position to be loaded with supplies.

However, on the face of it, one finds it hard to believe that ~a few~ of them couldn't have brought some badly needed supplies...

8:47 p.m.  

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